Spotlighting AEG UK’s new wave of promoters
AEG Presents UK promoters Eliza-Jane Oliver and Kara Harris have given IQ the lowdown on the company’s new generation.
Oliver has risen through the AEG ranks from executive assistant and now works with acts such as McFly, Allie X, Jinkx Monsoon and Ben DeLa Crème, Keith Urban, Rammstein, Michael Bublé, Bryan Adams, High Vis and Tremonti.
Harris, meanwhile, joined the firm in 2021 on the back of stints with Dice, Village Underground and EartH Hackney, and promotes the likes of Omar Apollo, Kenyon Dixon, Aly & AJ, JAEL, Beharie, NeOne the Wonderer, Deto Black and Vivendii Sound.
AEG has enjoyed a string of hit tours in 2022 with artists including Rammstein, Diana Ross and the Pet Shop Boys, but there have also been misses along the way.
“The difficulty is that there is no trend,” Oliver tells IQ. “People are very sensitive to ticket prices at the moment so you have to be sensible with that, but it is a bit random. It always has been with promoting to an extent because some things connect and some things don’t, especially when you’re working with newer artists, but it’s up and down.”
“The most challenging part of this year has been adapting to people’s post-Covid habits”
“The most challenging part of this year has been adapting to people’s post-Covid habits,” reflects Harris. “Certain shows that we would assume were going to be huge sellouts have taken a bit longer to get there and there isn’t just one reason for it. Whether it’s the cost of living or people just taking a little while to get back into the swing of things, there are so many factors at play.
“I’ve constantly been having conversations about scaling down shows that maybe would have done a certain capacity before Covid, and trying to be a little bit safer in the current climate.”
Despite the baptism of fire that greeted the duo in the post-pandemic promoting world, both have been quick to make their mark.
“My biggest highlight of this year was seeing Omar Apollo play at Koko,” suggests Harris. “I loved Koko before it closed and to see it renovated has been beautiful. My favourite part of being a promoter is knowing that, when you see a bunch of people in a room enjoying themselves, you had a part to play in it.”
“I started working with Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme, who are two world famous drag queens, and we’ve just sold out London [Palladium], which is so exciting – people just love them,” adds Oliver. “I’ve been working with [Steve Homer, AEG UK CEO] on Rammstein for years. We had shows at Cardiff Principality Stadium and Coventry Building Society Arena – they were meant to be 2020 and then 2021 – and they finally happened this year.
“After three years of, ‘Will it happen, won’t it happen?,’ to get 40,000 people in a room together was just incredible and it was the best production for a live show I’ve ever seen.”
“Hopefully we will see a resurgence in UK R&B and I can be a part of that”
Harris, who is also a presenter for British online radio station No Signal, has a particular passion for R&B and singles out FLO and Reggie Becton as ones to watch from her roster.
“I’m definitely an R&B lover,” she says. “I also have a radio show, which is specifically on R&B because it comes from a love of driving around with my dad and listening to Bobby Valentino and Aaliyah, so I’m excited to grow that number of R&B shows that AEG does and hopefully see a resurgence in UK R&B. And hopefully I can be a part of that.”
AEG UK CEO Steve Homer has overseen a revamp since taking sole charge of the company’s UK office at the start of the year following the departure of former co-CEO Toby Leighton-Pope, who has since resurfaced as MD of the newly formed TEG Europe. Both Harris and Oliver speak warmly of the working environment.
“The biggest thing that I’ve learned in this past year is the need to constantly adapt, learn and grow,” says Harris. “One thing I can say about working at AEG is that I feel genuinely supported. I constantly have more than one person there to lift me up or learn from.
“I look back at myself in September last year and I was in this new environment and just trying to get a grasp of everything. To see how I’ve grown since then is very fulfilling. It feels invigorating and fresh and it’s nice to be part of this new regime together. We’re constantly learning off of each other and it’s a nice environment to be in.”
“We’ve got 11 promoters at AEG and six of them are female, and that makes me really excited for the future”
“To be honest, I wasn’t sure if the transition from assistant to promoter was something I would ever do, but Steve made it so easy,” adds Oliver. “I just said, ‘I think I’d like to promote’ and he said, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t ask me this already,’ and that was kind of that. He’s always there to bounce ideas off and to answer questions.”
In closing, Oliver is buoyed by the makeup of the team and is optimistic about its prospects from here.
“We’ve got 11 promoters at AEG and six of them are female, and that makes me really excited for the future,” she says. “AEG is a company that is built on partnerships and we love working with other great promoters. Our international department has amazing promoter partners, all over the world, so I’m looking to build relationships and find my niche. It’s exciting for me to be able to make the transition after being an assistant, but I’ve got a lot of work to do so I want to establish myself and put on some great shows.”
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